How did your reading go this month? Did you read our main title, Station Eleven, or did you find something else to read?
Station Eleven is one of my favorite books, but it can be difficult to read at times. The fear, the isolation, the unrelenting unknown can sometimes cut a little too close to what we went through with Covid. Fortunately, Covid was not quite as deadly or as fast acting (although close enough) to the flu that swept through the population in Station Eleven and while our world has not changed as dramatically as it did in the book, it is different from what was before.
One thing I love about Station Eleven is the traveling band of actors and musicians, spreading a little bit of culture and beauty, that despite all of the loss and heartbreak, humans crave something more. (The quote from Star Trek that Mandel uses reflects this beautifully – “survival is not enough”) The traveling band provides some relief, a sense of community and ties to a past that is gone forever. I also liked how the passage of time after their pandemic is shown, how the “before” time slowly become stories and legends – it made me wonder about our history and how much of it has faded and shifted over time.
In the end I found Station Eleven to be full of hope – that good still exists, that humans can adapt and move forward, that even at the end of the world, there is reason to carry on.
How did you feel about the book you read this month? Was there a theme of fear and isolation in, but also optimism for the future? Or were people too burdened by grief and heartbreak? How do the worlds in each book look different from before and after? What are the lasting affects on the survivors? Has your thinking about the past and how stories are remembered changed? How are memories an imperfect record of the past, but also powerful reminders?
Let us know in the comments what you thought of this month’s reading challenge!